Boston Friars Bless Chapel

John Maganzini, OFM Friar News

BOSTON — As part of the celebrations of the 800th anniversary, the friar community at St. Anthony Shrine on Arch Street here renovated the friars’ chapel. 

The chapel was used for the first time on Christmas Eve for morning prayer, attended by the artist who contributed to the renovations.

The chapel was renovated during the 800th Franciscan anniversary year because it needed painting, as well as improvements to some of the pews and walls, according to director David Convertino, OFM, and to make the chapel more Franciscan in style. Built in the 1950s, the chapel had some Franciscan adornments, but is now more closely related to the style.

David, shown in the photo collage behind the picture above, supervised the renovations. They began in September and included the former altar area being covered with a large wall with a very large San Damiano cross (shown in photo) painted by Gordon Daugherty. The cross is the focal point above the new altar. Daugherty is creating four more images — of St. Francis, the Portiuncula, St. Clare and St. Anthony — for the side walls.

Daugherty painted the walls in a stone effect. The former back entrance to the chapel from the sacristy was closed off and a special side chapel for the Blessed Sacrament was created. Some of the choir stalls were removed, making room for the music ministry. A special niche was created on one wall and a statue of Mary has been ordered. 

bostonchapel (1)A wood floor, doors, altar and ambo completed the chapel. The commissioned statue of the stigmata was placed in the chapel. 

On the morning of Christmas Eve, the friars gathered in the hallway outside the chapel and David began, praying, “Brothers in Christ and Francis, this is a day of rejoicing for we have come together to offer this newly restored chapel to God. We ask that God bless our Franciscan community with his grace and by his power, bless the doors leading into this beautiful room.” 

The doors were blessed and the friars filed into the chapel singing, “Ubi Caritas et Amor.” Music was provided byGene Pistacchio, OFM, and Hugh Macsherry, OFM. The friars then faced the San Damiano cross and Daugherty read an excerpt from Francis and the San Damiano Cross by Susan Sing. Friars faced the altar and sang, “I will take the cup of life, I will call God’s name, all my days.”

Morning prayer continued, and Richard Flaherty, OFM, read the Advent reading from the Prophet Isaiah. As a response, the community sang, “Patience People.” As the intercessions were read, everyone sang the response, “Maranatha! Come, Oh Christ the Lord!” After the blessing, everyone recited the “Adoramus Te” and left the Chapel grateful for this new space for worship and prayer. A more formal dedication is being planned.

— Br. John, the Province’s postulant director, read from the Beatitudes from the Gospel of Matthew during the Christmas Eve service. He is a vicar at St. Anthony Shrin